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Local advocates and military veterans will join in a “We Support Trans Troops and Veterans” rally Sunday in downtown Pensacola in support of the transgender military community. The event is in response to Donald Trump’s recent comments on a military ban on transgender individuals.

Trump in tweets on Wednesday announced he intended to reverse his previous political positions and change already enacted policies on how to treat women and men serving in the military who don’t identify with their birth gender.

“I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens,” Trump said at a rally in July 2016, following the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

In a statement following the president’s social media posts, military leaders said transgender people can continue to serve in the military for now as the Pentagon tries to clarify the confusion caused by Trump’s sudden announcement that seemed to blind side military officials. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, including chairman General Joseph Dunford, were not aware President Donald Trump planned to tweet a ban on transgender service members, despite Trump stating he had consulted with military leaders.

“Trans people are as capable, talented and patriotic as anybody else,” said Louis Cooper, president of Gay Grassroots of Northwest Florida. “With the obstacles many of them have overcome, they are probably more qualified for the demands of military life than some of the rest of us. Keeping trans Americans out of the military is as much a disservice to our country as it is to them.”

The rally is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at MLK Plaza in downtown Pensacola, and was organized by local non-profits Gay Grassroots of Northwest Florida and TransReality, which provide education in support of the LGBT community.

Advocates will meet at the plaza for a short speaking program and rally, which will include members of the transgender community, local activists, and community leaders. Previously scheduled speakers included three active duty military personnel but event organizers and a DoD spokesperson said they were ordered to withdraw from the event.

What: “We Support Trans Troops and Veterans Rally”

When: 2 p.m., Sunday, July 30, 2017

Where: MLK Plaza, downtown Pensacola (Palafox Street between Chase and Gregory streets)

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